Appliances are what hold our homes together on a daily basis. Our appliances do a lot for us, but they need to be taken care of too. How do you maintain your various appliances to maximize their use? In this article, we will cover how to maintain your refrigerator, oven/stove, dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer and the best practices for avoiding issues with them.
Clean the coils
Dust, food crumbs, pet hair and more usually get eaten by the bottom of your refrigerator at some point. But they can have an effect on the efficiency of your refrigerator if you aren’t on top of cleaning them. The coils are normally at the back or bottom of the refrigerator and can be cleaned with a simple vacuum attachment, brush, or duster. As long as it’ll get the grime off the coils, you are good to go. This should be done once or twice a year.
Maintain the temperature
To protect your food safety and the refrigeration system, it’s important to maintain the temperature of your refrigerator. Your freezer ideally should be at 0 degrees or lower, while your refrigerator should be between 37 and 40 degrees.
Check the gasket
The gasket or seal around the doors of your refrigerator serves a very important purpose. This is the guard between the cold air inside, preventing it from escaping. It’s important to check for wear and tear from time to time to make sure this is not a risk. It also helps to keep it clean to prevent damage, which can be done with warm soapy water. If you do notice damage, you can find a replacement at your local hardware store or call a professional to replace it.
Change the filters
To keep your water and ice safe and fresh, it’s imperative that you change the filter in your refrigerator every 3 months. This will prevent germs from recycling into your drinks and food.
Cover your food
Leftovers are convenient after a busy day but not so convenient for your refrigerator if the food is left uncovered. Not only does covering your food keep it fresher for longer, but it also eliminates the chance of moisture in your refrigerator. Appliances and moisture don’t mix. If a frost builds up from moisture exposure, it can lead to lots of issues.
Don’t remove oven knobs
While it is nice to get all the spots on your oven, the knobs on your oven lead directly to the control system. Cleaning under these could lead to electrocution if you get any cleaning product on the controls. It’s a much better idea to leave the knobs on and clean around them to prevent any damage to yourself or the oven.
Use the self cleaning feature
This feature is very helpful if you have any spills or residue inside your oven that are hard to clean up. Your oven self-cleans by heating to temperatures north of 800 degrees to break down grime and leave ash for easy cleaning. Be sure to remove oven racks before starting this cycle and it is a good idea to not leave your home while this cycle runs. Because of the high heat, it is also best practice to open windows and turn on vent fans or regular fans to be sure the fumes don’t cause any issues.
Inspect gas line
Your gas line is what puts your oven in motion. It is important for it to be up to date and free of wear and tear. This will help avoid dangerous situations and guarantee that your stove and oven will work as intended. When you upgrade your oven and stove, it’s a good idea to update your gas line as well. If you have a good working appliance that you don’t intend to replace, you should periodically inspect your gas line for any signs of wear. If you see anything that doesn’t look right, it may be time to replace the line. If you want to be sure, have a professional come out and inspect it. They will give you all the information needed to make an informed decision.
Check your element regularly
It’s important to inspect your element periodically. You should be looking for any spots on your burner that may be glowing or burning more than others. If you notice a spot that is different from the rest, you need to have it looked at by a professional. This could result in a short out which can cause flames to be produced that may be hard to put out. Better to check and get ahead of it before something dangerous ensues.
Inspect your oven door gaskets
The seal that goes around your oven door is very important for your oven’s effectiveness. It ensures it heats properly and maintains heat. Over time, that seal can weaken and develop normal wear and tear. While normal grime and buildup can simply be wiped away, wear and tear to the seal can cause your oven to lose efficiency and not heat properly. If you see any damage to your oven door gaskets, it is important to replace it.
Clean the filter
The filter in your dishwasher should be cleaned every 3-6 months. If this filter runs for too long without being cleaned, it can be redistributing food or germs onto your dishes during the cycle. To avoid this, take the filter out every 3-6 months and sanitize and clean it to ensure a germ free wash cycle and clean dishes.
Clean the spray arm
About every 6 months, you should remove the spray arm in your dishwasher and clean it. This will ensure there are no blockages in the arm and will keep your dishwasher efficient as usual. Having a clean spray arm also guarantees there are no germs or food being redistributed on your dishes like with the filter.
Run your dishwasher at least once a week
Running your dishwasher once a week isn’t just to keep it clean but also to keep the motor seals working properly. Even small dish loads can help achieve this. Running your dishwasher also helps with the smell that sometimes develops after not using it for a while.
Inspect water hoses
The hoses behind your washing machine are prone to cracking, fraying, bulges, or leaks eventually. It is best practice to check them out periodically for any signs of damage. If any damage is detected, they should be replaced quickly.
Move the washing machine
To prevent having to replace those hoses as often, you can move your washing machine away from the wall. Having about 4 inches of space between the wall and the machine is best practice.
Keep the machine level
If your washing machine isn’t level, you will be prone to several issues. Your machine not being level, can cause it to shake or vibrate unnecessarily while it is running. This can result in damage to your machine and to the floor around it.
Keep your machine clean
Washing your washing machine is key to keeping your clothes smelling fresh and clean. To do this, run your machine with a washing machine cleaner or a mixture of hot water, baking soda, and vinegar with an empty load. This will help break down soap residue and any mildew that may be present in the machine. With top loading machines, it’s a good idea to leave the door open between washes to make sure there is enough time for it to dry completely to avoid mold or mildew growth. With front loading washing machines, wiping down the seal between washes goes a long way.
Clean the exhaust fan
It’s best to hire an expert who can run a line and clean out all the lint from your exhaust fans and the lines that run to the outside of your home. This should be done every 2-3 years at least. Having a buildup of lint and debris in these lines for too long can result in overheating and eventually a fire.
Check the vent cap outside
To make the above easier on yourself, check the vent cap outside your home periodically. Sometimes grass, snow, or debris can block the vent on the outside and cause your dryer to stop working as efficiently. This will also give you more time between lint clean outs by a professional.
Don’t overload your dryer
Overloading your dryer can cause a number of issues. Your dryer has a higher chance of not working properly when it is overloaded. Your clothes will not dry as quickly and mildew could build up as a result. To ensure your clothes will come out smelling fresh and clean and your dryer doesn’t suffer from a musty smell, make sure your load sizes are appropriate.
Deep clean your lint trap
While it is important to clean out your lint trap after every use, you should also be deep cleaning it every so often. Deep cleaning your lint trap with warm soapy water every 3 months. To make it even easier, you can throw your lint trap in the dishwasher. This increases the effectiveness of your lint trap and dryer as well as prevents any buildup from causing other issues.
Replace vinyl or plastic exhaust fans
Depending on what kind of dryer you have, the exhaust fan may be made of vinyl or plastic. While these do work, they are more prone to catching fire due to the heat of the dryer. It’s best to replace this with a metal one. Metal exhaust fans are way less likely to catch fire and could save you lots of money in the long run.
Clean the drum
The drum of your dryer does need to be cleaned from time to time. Dryer sheets can leave residues and there is a possibility of buildup due to a multitude of circumstances. To clean the drum efficiently, grab a microfiber towel and some rubbing alcohol to get rid of any residue or other things building up in your dryer. This should be done about every 2 years.